Swiss world number one Roger Federer kept alive his dream of
completing a career Grand Slam at this year's Roland Garros as he
struggled through Frenchman Thierry Ascione 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (8) to
reach the third round on Wednesday night.
The 25-year-old, who has not dropped a set in his first two
matches, will next play Italian Potito Starace.
After failing to serve out the match at 5-4, Federer
surprisingly found himself in danger of dropping the third set and
being forced to return on Thursday to complete the match.
Federer held three match points at 6-3 in the third-set
tie-break but Ascione, continuing his superb performance in the
set, reeled off four straight points to hold set point.
Federer had to save two set points before converting his fourth
match point to close out the match.
Federer recorded 28 winners against Ascione's 10, and could have
wrapped up the match much earlier: He won the first two sets in 48
minutes but converted just five of 21 break point opportunities in
Argentine 15th seed David Nalbandian, who has reached two Roland
Garros semifinals in the past three years, set up an mouth-watering
third-round showdown with rising French star Gael Monfils following
a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 win over Spaniard Ivan Navarro Pastor.
Monfils upset Nalbandian's countryman Juan Ignacio Chela 3-6,
6-3, 6-3, 6-1. Last year at Roland Garros he won three consecutive
five-set matches before falling in straight sets to Novak Djokovic
in the fourth round.
(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2007)